Welcome to Tactical Gamer

  • Online Gaming and Addiction



    This is video lecture by Dr. Strangelove, of the University of Ottawa, (a.k.a. [TG] E-Male) on pathological and non-pathological online gaming. I performed the monologue while simultaneously playing Bad Company 2. Thus the video lecture captures the ironic position of myself, addicted to the Internet and online gaming, analyzing the subject while engaged in the subject. How very pomo.

    EDIT:

    Here is a link to the paper by John P. Charlton and Ian D.W. Danforth, "Distinguishing addiction and high engagement in the context of online game playing," Computers in Human Behavior, (2005).
     

     
    Comments 14 Comments
    1. Skud's Avatar
      Skud -
      Very good points around the 3:45 mark.

      Addiction is NOT determined by frequency or amount.
    1. Gill's Avatar
      Gill -
      When I first hit the internet - in college, 1999 - I definitely exhibited pathological addition to the experience of "being online". It took being placed on academic probation to pull my head out of my ass. Up until that point, the pleasure I derived from sitting in the computer lab and talking in chatrooms, looking at stuff on the internet, and anything else involved with the internet circa 1999 far outweighed any social experiences I could have had during that first semester.

      It was an important lesson: moderation.
    1. Ferris Bueller's Avatar
      Ferris Bueller -
      An interesting corollary to some of the subject matter that I thought of while watching your video:
      While we do know that pathological addiction to video games does exist and we know the symptoms, we dont know the exact cause. Often, as you pointed out, one of the hallmarks is a withdrawal from social situations. So my question would be: do communities, like TG, who foster activity, communication, a large presence of the community mindset and promote or mandate member interaction (which, as we have all seen at TG, often leads to non-gaming social connections) help people move away from a pathological addiction and/or inhibit its development?

      Granted, I'm running from a limited sample, simply because I've never run across another community like TG, but it seems to me that we have very very few people who would even qualify as having a mild pathological addiction, much less anyone in full throes. Wouldn't it be interesting to discover that what we do here and our sense of community keeps people who might otherwise develop that addiction from falling down the dark path.

      Food for thought. Excellent video, as always, Sir! Wish I had a chance to take your class, I think it'd be very very interesting for nerds like me!
    1. E-Male's Avatar
      E-Male -
      Once again, thank you for "reading" me.

      FB: "Wouldn't it be interesting to discover that what we do here and our sense of community keeps people who might otherwise develop that addiction from falling down the dark path."

      Interesting suggestion, Ferris.

      It would require surveys and such, but it is an interesting research question. As TG promotes a sense of community, and community reduces the experience of isolation and depression (some of leading causes of addiction), to what extent does TG help reduce pathological addiction in the gaming community. There is a research grant in there somewhere!

      Keep in mind that many of the TG regulars (myself included) are quite likely non-pathologically addicted to gaming (or caught in "high engagement" as the authors also call it).

      Also keep in mind that the definition of addiction itself is subject to considerable disagreement among scholars.
    1. redneck_fgf's Avatar
      redneck_fgf -
      “So my question would be: do communities, like TG, who foster activity, communication, a large presence of the community mindset and promote or mandate member interaction (which, as we have all seen at TG, often leads to non-gaming social connections)”

      Answer Maybe.
      Here at TG players are nameless and faceless. Our social interactions are mostly being conducted through TS or the forms, or in game coms, these forms of interactions can almost dehumanise member interaction.

      Yes, TG dose fosters activity, communication, and a community mindset, TG strives to promote member interaction and this can lead to non-gaming social connections (Positive), but this can also blur the distinction between real friends and acquaintances.

      Ok let’s use E-Male as an example, do we really know who he is? (Sorry e-male for the next few lines in advance) Electronic media makes it easy for people to misrepresent themselves. How do we know that E-Male is really Dr. Strangelove, and works at of the University of Ottawa? He could be a sixteen or even a forty six year old, coping and pasting work from someone he wants to be? Unless we have strong face to face interactions we can blur the distinction between real friends and acquaintances.
      Don’t get me wrong, I have made some good friends on TG, went on vacation with one and plan on flying ½ around the world to meet and vacation with another. Again, I see the answer to your question as a strong maybe.
    1. redneck_fgf's Avatar
      redneck_fgf -
      Quote Originally Posted by TheSkudDestroyer View Post

      Addiction is NOT determined by frequency or amount.
      As per the DSM-IV Substance Dependence Criteria:

      Criteria 1. Tolerance, as defined by either of the following:
      (a) A need for markedly increased amounts of the substance to achieve intoxication or the desired effect
      or
      (b) Markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of the substance.



      This is marked by frequency and amount, both build tolerance and diminished effect. If you find yourself wanting to play more, or keep playing for a longer and play for longer amounts of time to get your “fix”.



      Good readings:


      Pathological Video-Game Use Among Youth Ages 8 to 18 A National Study
      Reasearch done by Douglas Gentile

      Or this done by Koepp, Gunn, Lawrence, et.al.

      Evidence for striatal dopamine release during a video game.
      doi:10.1038/30498
    1. Ferris Bueller's Avatar
      Ferris Bueller -
      You simply have to be willing to broaden your horizons redneck. I cant speak for everyone here, but I have met several of the members of the community in person, hung out, had beers, etc. Hell, TG even had a big event in texas a few years back (which I think we ought to do again if at all possible) where a lot of people got together and gamed it up! So sure, there are probably quite a few people here who are less than truthful about who they are, thats part of the internet game. But since TG has done such a great job of making it perfectly clear that we're not 4chan, I doubt that number is very high.

      Regardless of people's intentions when they come here, lots of people make real connections with other people. I've discussed very personal things both on the forums and over TS/VOIP with many people in this community because I prefer to believe that we are not all nameless and faceless, but that we came to this place as real people looking for something greater than just a run-of-the-mill gaming environment, and a big part of that was community. Real community.

      But either way you want to slice it, I'd like to think that the community could help people keep away from a pathological addiction, and I'd like to think that if the community noticed someone who was exhibiting strong outward symptoms, we could reach out to help in some fashion.

      And E-Male, I agree, I can definitely count myself in with the ranks of those with a non-pathological addiction. Then again, like you, I'm a runner, so I'm no stranger to that sort of thing.
    1. Skud's Avatar
      Skud -
      Quote Originally Posted by redneck_fgf View Post

      This is marked by frequency and amount, both build tolerance and diminished effect. If you find yourself wanting to play more, or keep playing for a longer and play for longer amounts of time to get your “fix”.
      Limiting yourself to a strictly textbook definition of addiction is a bit narrow, don't you think?

      Sure you can copy-paste 'definitions' of what 'is' or 'is not' an addiction, but as is with much of the mental health field you cannot simply 'define' everything into neat and narrow columns.

      The reason I do not believe that addiction is determined by frequency or amount is due to my life experience with 12 step programs. An alcoholic does not need to be some hobo sucking Franzia box wine out of a bag while pushing a shopping cart around - which is what people commonly associate with alcoholics. Or, an addict does not have to be some junkie on the streets stealing and mugging to get his next fix.

      There are plenty of addicts and alcoholics who use less frequently and in less quantity than others who society does not consider "addicted." There are plenty of college kids that drink entirely more and on a more regular basis than alcoholics. There are "casual" drug users who shoot up more than the hardcore addicts.

      So in the end, addiction to anything is not easily determined by how much and how often. It's more determined by conflict, social effects, welfare, etc etc.
    1. redneck_fgf's Avatar
      redneck_fgf -
      “Limiting yourself to a strictly textbook definition of addiction is a bit narrow, don't you think?”

      No, if we do not set a base line to work from, addiction covers a broad spectrum. Levels of addiction also cover a broad also. If you look at the Jellineck curve (http://www.in.gov/judiciary/ijlap/docs/jellinek.pdf) of addiction and recovery your level of addiction can be anywhere. Addiction is a very personal thing, you can bifurcate the curve anywhere, everyone has a different bottom.

      “the mental health field you cannot simply 'define' everything into neat and narrow columns.”
      Agreed, you cannot, but like above you can establish baselines. One of the main reasons you cannot put addiction in, as you say, “neat and narrow columns” is that addiction tends to be a comorbid condition. Addiction normally covers the main problem, addiction most of the time is NOT the problem it is how an individual medicates the problem.

      “There are "casual" drug users who shoot up more than the hardcore addicts.”
      If you “shoot up” more than what you consider a “hardcore” addict, you are an addict in denial.

      “addiction to anything is not easily determined by how much and how often”

      Agreed, but video gaming, exercise, and gambling along with a whole host of other things can become addictive. Addiction is not a weakness of will it is a chronic disease process. The medical model states it is a chronically relapsing disease.

      “You simply have to be willing to broaden your horizons redneck. I cant speak for everyone here, but I have met several of the members of the community in person, hung out, had beers, etc”
      My horizons are very broad, I found , reconnected and married my wife through a community chat room (classmates.com),and through TG, I meet and went to Alaska with a member, who I count as a friend. I meet and converse with someone, who my wife plan to fly ½ around world to meet spend time with and have them show me their world. But the important aspect of this, just like your lan party, there is a face-to face interaction that takes the status to higher level. If you look at this from a holistic perspective there is a high rate of people in internet committees who blur the distinction between real friends and acquaintances.

      “Also keep in mind that the definition of addiction itself is subject to considerable disagreement among scholars.”
      You could look at this in many ways. One way would be, is addiction a disease possess or a weakness?

      This is a very important question because both medical treatment and insurance reimbursement are diagnosis driven, and if it a weakness of character, well there is no DSM-IV code for that, therefore no insurance reimbursement.

      But back to the subject at hand, in some schools of thought claim that addiction is defined simply as a strong habit, technically, a habit not an addiction. We could also argue over what constitutes a forest, how many trees in one wooded area does it take before that area is deemed a forest. So how bad or strong does a habit have to become before it is an addiction?

      There is also a large amount of disagreement among scholars about smoking and cancer. Since there are only causational connections between smoking and cancer, we cannot say smoking causes cancer.
    1. redneck_fgf's Avatar
      redneck_fgf -
      Sorry left out this
      But a marked increase in how much and how often is a predicating factor of addiction, so it may not and is not easily determined it can be a strong predicating factor

      under the how much and how often section.
    1. E-Male's Avatar
      E-Male -
      There is a considerable amount of research directed at the inadequecies of the DSM's current definition of addiction, and the article cited in my video makes a point of demonstrating that frequency alone is not a sufficient criteria for defining addiction.

      Gentile's article is focused on patholoical addiction, and apears to confirm the findings of Charlton and Ian D.W. Danforth.

      Gentile concludes that

      "Pathological use (or addiction) must mean more than ‘‘do it a lot.’’ As predicted, pathological status was a significant predictor of poorer school performance even after controlling for sex, age, and weekly amount of video-game play. This is the first study of pathological computer, Internet, or video-game use to conduct such a strong test, and the results demonstrate that pathological use is not simply isomorphic with excessive play or high engagement with video games" (my emphasis).

      This is one of the main points of my video lecture.

      Also noteworthy:

      "pathological gamers were twice as likely as nonpathological gamers to have been diagnosed with an attention problem, such as attention-deficit disorder or attentiondeficit/hyperactivity disorder, helps to demonstrate the current limits of knowledge about pathological gaming. One could interpret this finding as a predictable type of comorbidity, given that many addictions are comorbid with other problems and that Internet ‘‘addiction’’ has previously been found to be correlated with attention problems (Yoo et al., 2004). Still, it is not clear whether (a) pathological play is entirely distinct from other pathologies, (b) pathological play is a contributing factor to the development of other problems, or (c) the other problems contribute to pathological play . . .

      It is certainly possible that pathological gaming causes poor school performance, and so
      forth, but it is equally likely that children who have trouble at school seek to play games to experience feelings of mastery, or that attention problems cause both poor school performance and an attraction to games. Furthermore, the data on pathological gaming should be considered to be exploratory, as no standard definition of pathological gaming exists . . .

      We do not know who is most at risk for developing pathological patterns of play, what the time course of developing pathological patterns is, how long the problems persist, what percentage of pathological gamers need help, what types of help might be most effective, or even whether pathological videogame use is a distinct problem or part of a broader spectrum of disorders." (Gentile).
    1. redneck_fgf's Avatar
      redneck_fgf -
      To start, I would like to quote Xu Leiting, a psychologist speaking to the rappid growth of internet addiction in china:
      "Then they escape to the virtual world to seek achievements, importance and satisfaction, or a sense of belonging."

      Sounds like what we have here...


      “There is a considerable amount of research directed at the inadequacies of the DSM's current definition of addiction”

      You are correct, the DSM-V has addressed this with breaking addiction into more categories (from press releases) and I really hope they do. Even with its “inadequacies” it still is the best base line for formulating a diagnosis and sadly we need to label for both medical treatment and insurance reimbursement. This is a sad because addiction is a comorbid condition, and you have to bill for their presenting issue not the underlying issue that they are medicating.
      And the term ‘addiction’, it was excluded from the DSM-IV and replaced with the terms ‘dependence’ and ‘Impulse Control Disorders’ A list of diagnoses codes can be found here. http://psyweb.com/Mdisord/DSM_IV/jsp/dsmab.jsp

      “We do not know who is most at risk for developing pathological patterns of play, what the time course of developing pathological patterns is, how long the problems persist, what percentage of pathological gamers need help, what types of help might be most effective, or even whether pathological videogame use is a distinct problem or part of a broader spectrum of disorders." (Gentile).”
      Ok before we start, substance abuse can be interchanged with gaming addiction. We must remember that addiction is addiction be it to coke or gaming

      There are indictor’s of pathological addiction; some of us are “biologically loaded" or "genetically predisposed" to have high potential for abuse issues. From a "nature" perspective University of California San Francisco (UCSF 2000), family studies on alcoholism and genetics researchers have discovered that families with first degree relatives of substance abusers are 3-4 times likely to have an addiction than first degree relatives of non-substance abuse family’s. They also learned that 20-25% of sons and brothers of substance abusers become substance abusers, and finally, that 5% of daughters and sisters of substance abusers become substance abusers (UCSF, 2000).

      Other research shows that identical twins are more likely to be similar in having substance abuse problems than fraternal twins. Studies from UCSF and other sources speak to the “biologically loaded" or "genetically predisposed" argument. Studies have shown that show that children who were adopted and are the child of substance abusers, and were adopted by parents without a history of substance abuse still are 3 times more likely to have a substance abuse problem than children of non-addictive parents adopted by non-addictive parents.
      So there are ways to predict who is has a high level of risk for the development of pathological addictive problem. If you read the work of Nora Volkow (she has a great voice), you can see a there is a pattern of the biological and environmental factors that contribute to the development and progression of the disease called addiction.


      And will respond to your last statement when I have more time, But just to start, Young stared addressing Computer Addiction: obsessive computer game playing back in 1996, in fact Young saw five areas of concern in the new world of the internet:
      Cybersexual Addiction: compulsive use of adult websites for cybersex and cyberporn
      Cyber-relationship Addiction: over-involvement in online relationships

      Net Compulsions: obsessive online gambling, shopping, or day-trading

      Information Overload: compulsive web surfing or database searches


      It's good reading:
      Young, K. (1996). Internet addiction: the emergence of a new clinical disorder. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 3, 237-244.
    1. E-Male's Avatar
      E-Male -
      Interesting points, redneck, although I am not sure what exactly it is that you are contesting, vis a vis the issues raised in the video lecture.

      As to the notion of addiction as a disease, you appear to overstate the consensus on the nature of addiction as a disease. The disease model remains subject to considerable dispute among researchers.

      The disease model of addiction is not the only model available, and acts a power-discourse with considerable implications. Consider Craig Reinarman on this: "Addiction-as-disease has been continuously redefined, mostly in the direction of conceptual elasticity, such that it now yields an embarrassment of riches: a growing range of allegedly addictive phenomena which do not involve drugs."

      Addiction is perhaps, first and foremost, a cultural concept that is used within power relations to reinforce institutional claims on public poilcy. So we need to be wary of accepting the dominant discourse on addiction as unproblematic. As Staton Peele argues, the notion of addiction as disease has considerable potential for doing harm.
    1. BigGaayAl's Avatar
      BigGaayAl -
      Quote Originally Posted by E-Male View Post
      Once again, thank you for "reading" me.

      FB: "Wouldn't it be interesting to discover that what we do here and our sense of community keeps people who might otherwise develop that addiction from falling down the dark path."

      Interesting suggestion, Ferris.

      It would require surveys and such, but it is an interesting research question. As TG promotes a sense of community, and community reduces the experience of isolation and depression (some of leading causes of addiction), to what extent does TG help reduce pathological addiction in the gaming community. There is a research grant in there somewhere!

      Keep in mind that many of the TG regulars (myself included) are quite likely non-pathologically addicted to gaming (or caught in "high engagement" as the authors also call it).

      Also keep in mind that the definition of addiction itself is subject to considerable disagreement among scholars.
      I wish to respond on the matter raised by Ferris here. I have not watched the lecture since I'm at work and not allowed to. However, I know a thing or two about addiction.

      First I would like to point out that addiction can be tied to basically any object or concept in our culture. I usually give the example of the special section of a big psychiatric hospital in Brussels where they treat 'water addiction'. All the toilet seats have locks on them to prevent the addicts from indulging their urges head first.

      Secondly I'd like to state my opinion on the question whether TG specifically counters addiction.

      1) I think most definitely not. It is clear to me that no one would ever say to another one in TG "hey man you're perhaps gaming to much since you clocked x hours on y game this week". In fact, I believe this to be a clear taboo in the community. Sure addiction comes up in the sandbox and other places here and there, but for TG to counter addiction, there should be this element of social control equivalent to "hey man wouldn't you better go home instead of having anoher drink". Instead I see Taboo.

      2) I would like replace the idea of TG 'countering' addiction, with the idea of TG 'mitigating' the damage done by and the severity of gaming addiction. The way I see it the social elements of TG certainly do this to considerable extent.
      -Social skills: Many young people especially actually learn many social skills on TG that they would not otherwise learn, or not as fast. Because 14-18yr olds want to play in this community, they have to quickly pick up social discipline and restraint. I believe the context of gaming makes it much easier for them to be open to these life lessons as it is connected to something they love doing instead of at school.

      -These social skills then counter one of the worst aspects of problematic addiction.
      The isolation is mitigated by at first the community itself; there is always a TG-er who can help you with advice on whatever problem you may have. There is always someone to talk to and keep you company. But in a more important way I think the social skills learnt online translate significantly to real life I would suspect.

      So you have the first element of an immediate social support group, and a second element of skills learnt that can aid you after a difficult period when venturing out into the real world again after a period of intensified gaming.

      I fact I have been thinking about this more and more as my job entails educating people that are often the same age as new players on the server. The key problem of educating these children with problematic backgrounds, is finding a way for them to stop fighting the system (at school, institution, ...) and accept the idea of authority in society, the idea of rules and laws VS unlimited selfishness of their own will, their own pleasure. Once these kids make that switch, you see them improve by leaps and bounds at school, and in the glint in their eyes, the joy in their smile.

      I would say, this is exactly the same as a new 14yr old player joining the server, getting kicked/banned several times, until he realizes that if he wants to play it is in his own interests to accept the need for law/authority/rules.

      In fact lately I have become more and more convinced, that TG is in several ways: an institution and of great value to society. Just like sports clubs can save people from ganglife, TG can save petulant little ADHD rage-nerds, from themselves, and perhaps even, from their virginity! (/nerdjokes)
  • Connect

  • Planetside 2 Outfit

  • TeamSpeak 3 Server Info

  • Advertisement

  • Calendar

    April   2014
    Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
    1 2 3 4 5
    6 7 8 9 10 11 12
    13 14 15 16 17 18 19
    20 21 22 23 24 25 26
    27 28 29 30


  
 

Back to top